Switch to a positive mindset to reduce the chance of anxiety and depression

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Switch to a positive mindset to reduce the chance of anxiety and depression


Anxiety is not necessarily negative. It helps you identify any errors or threats so you can avoid them in the future. But if you keep focusing on negative events or constantly reframing them, it can have a significant impact on your mental and physical health. How can you put an end to negative thought patterns and switch to a positive mindset?

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What causes concern?

Ernst Koster, a professor at Ghent University (Department of Clinical and Health Experimental Psychology), conducts research on anxiety. He distinguishes between two forms: “The essence is repetitive thinking about problems or negative things,” Koster says. “On the one hand, you have anxious anxiety, which is usually about the future: What if my boss finds out I made mistakes, what if something happens to my kids?… In addition, you have more depressive anxiety, in which you remain focused on the past. Ruminating about: How My relationship failed, why should this happen to me? There is no sharp dividing line between the two. Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand.

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Get rid of negative thought patterns

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Anxiety can be a logical reaction to events, but some people deal with negative situations in a more constructive way than others. Professor Koster talks about contrasts: “One important contrast, for example, is abstract versus concrete thinking. Anxiety is a way of thinking about unpleasant situations and learning lessons from your mistakes. But then the thinking must be concrete enough. Now take the divorce. You might think: This is terrible, why should this happen to me, I never wanted this. There is little in these types of ideas that can help you handle things differently from now on. But you can also think: What could I have done differently? How can I make sure I don’t end up at this point in the future?

The second contradiction he mentions is magnifying and differentiating your feelings. This makes it easier for you to do something about it. “Belief that you feel bad does not lead to a better analysis. But you can also distinguish: I feel lonely, abandoned, and maybe also a little disappointed in myself. This way you can focus on concrete things you can do to change the situation. If you feel lonely, You can, for example, meet friends more often.

How you see yourself also plays a role. “There is of course a great tendency to think of yourself in the first person,” the professor explains. But you can also choose to think of yourself in the third person. This creates more distance, which helps you analyze the situation better. This also helps to relieve negative emotions and think more about solving problems.

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What can you do yourself?

In any case, shifting to a positive mindset begins with the following: consciousness. “Our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are all interconnected, so our thoughts influence how we feel and act,” says Rachel Goldman, a psychologist and clinical assistant professor at New York University School of Medicine.

According to Dr. Goldman can Psychotherapy It certainly helps change negative thoughts, but you can also learn how to change your thinking patterns. during Complete focus of mind For example. Mindfulness involves trying to see thoughts and feelings as objects floating in front of you. You can stop them, monitor them, or let them pass by you.

In addition to psychotherapy, you can use targeted therapy Computer use training Follow to learn how you can care for your environment. “We conducted research using a series of words that people were shown on a computer screen,” Professor Koster explains. By observing eye movements, we notice that some people automatically hesitate to use negatively charged words, even when asked to form a positive sentence. But by making positive words light up when they look at them, we were able to mitigate this negativity bias. This way they can break this spiral.” This makes people more open to positive and new information. The result is that psychotherapy will be more effective as well.

Another effective exercise is Memory training. This places a heavy burden on the anxious person’s memory: he or she must perform tasks that require the working memory to absorb information very quickly. “As long as they focus on the task, we see that anxious behavior decreases. These effects are lasting: even after three months of training, this group seemed to be less anxious than the control group that received no training.”

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Finally, you can calm your mind Practice Do: Yoga, dancing, or any other form of exercise you enjoy. Research has shown that physical activity reduces stress.

Read also: Yoga helps (in the short term) combat anxiety disorders


Last updated: November 2023

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Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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